Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Being problem solvers - Section 3: Independent Practice


Anytime I give students an independent writing assignment, I always make sure they are ready to write before sending them off to work. This can be as simple as giving me a thumbs up if they have a topic before leaving the meeting area. Those students who have a topic are dismissed to go write, those who don’t stay and work with each other and me to come up with a writing topic.


Sometimes students are full of inspiration and sometimes they just get “stuck.” I thought today would be one of those days where students would be chomping at the bit to write about what they believed to be wrong about their lives, but I was surprised by the number of students who stayed in the meeting area needing help finding a topic. After talking with these students, I realized that they were stuck not on identifying problems, but on coming up with solutions. They were worried that their solutions wouldn’t actually solve the problem. I explained that was ok - the point of the assignment wasn’t to solve the world’s problems! I simply wanted them to begin thinking about problem solving. Their “solutions” aren’t going to be tested or tried and they won’t even be shared with the class. I just wanted them to think critically about an issue and see if they can come up with a thoughtful way that the problem could be solved. This seemed to help a great deal. As was true for me as a student, sometimes getting “stuck” is more about fear of failure than an issue with ability!

  Grappling with Complexity: Support
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Being problem solvers

Unit 6: Non-Fiction: Structures and Features
Lesson 9 of 15

Objective: SWBAT write their own informational piece following the problem and solution organizational structure.

Big Idea: In the previous lesson, students learned how to identify if a text were written using the problem and solution structure. Today, students write their own passage using this structure and incorporating important key words.

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